I realized only a couple of weeks ago that I was approaching post No. 1400¹ on this blog. One hundred times double the “perfection” number is a nice number, but the sentiments and studies here have been anything but perfect. I’d like to use this particular milestone post (see below² for other milestones) to share some fine work from other writers I’ve come in contact with recently. Many of the passages below bear words and thoughts that 1) poetically are my envy and 2) spiritually speak of some of my elusive, unattainable, guiding stars. I will appeal to many of these again.
Please be inspired . . . or motivated . . . or challenged . . . as you wish.
Of Following the King
Could it be that one’s real duty is not to find the one true highway, but rather to be a certain kind of person—humble, attentive, and obedient—whatever the path one is on? If “The Way” be in us, John Bunyan once said, then we will always be in The Way, wherever we travel. – Darryl Tippens, Pilgrim Heart
When “everyone was a Christian,” the means by which “everyone” became a “Christian” was infant baptism…. This practice stood at the heart of the full flowering of the Constantinian church…. For the Anabaptists, baptism represented the point of entrance into a community of faith that had “been taught repentance and the amendment of life.” Baptism must not serve as a empty symbol of entry into a state-run church; baptism epitomized discipleship, and infant baptism cut out the very heart of the New Testament vision of the practice. Instead of baptizing culture and calling it ”Christian,” the Anabaptists desired that the church baptize those whose sought to walk in the way of Jesus…. “Faith” required, enabled, and freed one to walk in the way of Christ; baptism without discipleship was thus not Christian baptism. – Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, 137-139 (citing also the Schleitheim Confession of the 16th century)
It appears to me, comparing my experience with that of many friends, that once one has seriously enlisted on the side of God and his purpose, considerable spiritual opposition is provoked and encountered. . . . Should they once begin to embark on real living and to assist in building the Kingdom of God, then the attack begins! – J.B. Phillips, For This Day (emphasis Phillips’s)
Underneath “the end justifies the means” logic lies the assumption that the way of Christ is simply not a relevant social ethic … society will fall apart, will sink into a spiral of unmitigated violence. … Jesus could not have meant that we take him seriously in the realm of social and political realities—after all, what would happen if everybody did that?! . . .
Can those who claim Jesus to be divine grant so little authority to this One who showed us what it means to live a human life in accordance with the will of God? “Hey, be realistic, none of us are Jesus!” it is objected. But do such objections not overlook the New Testament claim that the people of God, the “body of Christ,” continue the ministry and work of Christ right in the midst of real human history, right in the midst of oppression, injustice, violence, and greed? – Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, 34, 39 (emphasis Camp’s)
Disciples are called to be peacemakers. This, however, does not necessarily mean passive disengagement from the world around us. Our example is our Father who loved the world and gave His Son for it. This is radical engagement…. -John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine, Kingdom Come
[A German woman, in reflection on Hitlerian Germany:] “Don’t you Americans always think that your wars are just?” Such anecdotes point us to a historical reality: a lazy use of the just war tradition most often provides rationalization for Christians killing their alleged enemies. – Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, 129 (emphasis Camp’s)
Claiming Jesus as Lord results in a particular manner of life, for which Jesus is the authority. – Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, 125
Of the Kingdom
My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here. – Jesus (John 18, NRSV)
The idea of the Kingdom of God, the sovereignty of God, was a conception which was central and basic to the message of Jesus. He emerged on men with the message that the Kingdom was at hand (Matt 4:17; Mark 1:15). To preach the Kingdom was an obligation that was laid upon him (Luke 4:43). It was with the message of the Kingdom that he went through the towns and villages of Galilee (Luke 8:1). The announcement of the Kingdom was the central element in the teaching of Jesus. . . . To do the will of God and to be in the Kingdom of God are one and the same thing. – William Barclay, The Mind of Jesus
When Jesus said (Luke 17:20-21) that the Kingdom doesn’t come with observation—that the Kingdom of God is “within” he wasn’t denying external things, he was emphasizing internal things. . . . What exactly is Christ saying in this verse? He’s telling us that the reign of God is peculiar. It’s built on self-surrender. – Jim McGuiggan, The Reign of God
What did Jesus talk about after his resurrection? He appeared to his followers “over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). This was his subject matter. – Howard Snyder, Community of the King
Of Worshipping the King
Worship is keeping open the vital connections between man and the source of his spiritual life. Worship is the road over which the prodigal travels from the wastelands of sin to the Father’s house of plenty. It is the wire which connects the Christian with the Dynamo of energy and light, and it is the lifeline through which flows the water of life. Worship is eating, eating bread at the table of God. – Andy T. Ritchie, Jr., Thou Shalt Worship the Lord Thy God
Two facets of worship are often overlooked. First and foremost, worship is a matter of allegiance: whom shall we deem worthy of glory, honor, and dominion? – Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship, 120
¹ For the record, a couple of the 1400 posts have been unintentional duplications, and if I were to read through them all now, I’d only be proud of 14% of them.
² Links to other milestone posts:
- #1300—a non-momentous sharing of quotes from C.S. Lewis
- #1200—a chiastic meditation
- #1000—John 9’s exegesis and blindness
- #900—ponderings about God
- #666—about Revelation (a post I’m not particularly proud of; I’d say things differently now)